Looking through Lord Steinberg's 33 stamp albums, with each item on a separate page written-up by a skilled calligraphist, was not only a joy but a unique occasion. In the recent past, Sotheby's has had the privilege of auctioning outstanding collections formed by Sir Gawaine Baillie and Lady Mairi Bury. Each of those were distinctive in the owner's style of collecting; Sir Gawaine collected Great Britain and British Empire and held production proofs and mint examples of the issued stamps with some blocks; Lady Mairi collected Great Britain and favoured primarily postal history, particularly of her beloved Ireland.
Lord Steinberg, like Sir Gawaine, collected Great Britain and the British Empire, but with a real twist. He only collected mint blocks of four or larger multiples. To see a comparable collection it is necessary to go back to the earlier period of the 20th century to a sale devoted purely to blocks of four which was held by Puttick and Simpson in London.
Collectors are only too aware of the significance of blocks. Many stamps which are comparatively common are transformed into major rarities when in blocks of four or larger. These sales will be an unrivalled opportunity for specialist collectors to acquire gems from this exceptional, unique collection.
Lord Steinberg (1936-2009)
Leonard Steinberg rose to prominence with Stanley Leisure, the company he founded in his native Belfast. His success ensured that it became the fourth largest bookmaker in the UK, with 650 shops and 40 casinos. The company was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1986. Awarded a peerage in 2004, Lord Steinberg was a keen Conservative and a proud friend of Israel. His great and varied philanthropic work included support of many UK and Jewish organisations. Stamp collecting was one of the many activities he enjoyed at leisure, alongside cricket and art. He was elected President of Lancashire County Cricket Club in 2007.
L11841 THE PHILATELIC COLLECTION OF LORD STEINBERG GREAT BRITAIN MINT MULTIPLES, 21 SEPTEMBER 2011
Lord Steinberg managed to amass one of the finest collections of Great Britain mint multiples ever to appear in auction.
Each reign has fantastic rarities and every aspect has been studied in detail. Queen Victoria Line-Engraved issues include one of the largest number of penny black mint multiples to be found in one collection. Later perforated Line-Engraved include some exceptional large multiples, particularly of the two pence value.
The Surface-Printed early issues include multiples of most values and many different plates. The later issues include superb mint multiples of the 1887-92 'Jubilee' £1 with both the major plate varieties.
King Edward VII includes blocks of all three printers and both the De La Rue and Somerset House issues to £1 green.
There is a splendid study of the King George V with superb Seahorse issues including £1 blocks of four in the three main shades. Commemorative issues include the exceedingly rare 1935 Silver Jubilee 'Prussian blue' in a magnificent block of four.